Night-time childcare may make families more disconnected

Many would agree that night-time childcare may encourage more parents to have children.

However, it actually seems to contradict the Government's push for more cohesive family units (Night-time childcare may not be in child's best interest, by Dr Rebecca Chan, March 13).

Night-time childcare risks an abuse of the most sacred unit or system in our society: the family.

Shift workers who already put in long hours, such as security guards who clock 12-hour shifts, will have a smaller chance of reprieve.

Employers may also expect employees to be able to work late because of this safety net.

Even without overt pressure, workers may stay later, with or without actually working, so as to appear hardworking, now that there is an avenue for childcare.

As Dr Rebecca Chan highlighted, children staying longer in childcare will mean that they lose valuable time spent with their parents and siblings.

As it is, how many parents spend even at least one hour socially interacting with their child during the weekdays?

One adverse long-term effect of disconnected families could be that children shunted to stay longer in childcare centres may then find it easier to place their ageing parents in old folks' homes.

This is, scarily, an almost direct representation of the Chinese parable, where a man takes his old father up a mountain in a basket to leave him to die. His young son, observing this, says he would remember to do the same when he grows up.

If the Government wants to truly encourage more people to have children, develop stronger family ties and care for an ageing population, then policies giving parents more freedom to care for and forge stronger ties with their children will help, not childcare centres with longer hours.

Adam Reutens-Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2019, with the headline 'Night-time childcare may make families more disconnected'. Print Edition | Subscribe